The bestsellers at Magers and Quinn in October were a mix of usual suspects, new releases, and one pleasant surprise.
The top spot went to Man Booker prize winner A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James. James, a novelist and Macalester professor originally from Jamaica, was already a local favorite, and copies of Brief History have been selling steadily since its hardcover release last year. But the exciting news of James’ win, coupled with his excellent reading in our store a week later, boosted October sales of the paperback to nearly 5 times higher than they were in September.
Patti Smith’s eagerly-awaited new work, M Train, was the second-hottest title in the store last month. Her first book of prose, Just Kids, won the National Book Award for nonfiction in 2010.
Besides the popular Best American series, anthologies rarely make our bestseller list, but the first issue of Freeman’s, a new biannual of unpublished writing, broke that rule. John Freeman, former Granta editor and National Book Critic’s Circle president, and Louise Erdrich visited the store to discuss the first issue’s theme of “arrival.” Strong sales continued for days afterwards, making Freeman’s: Arrival one of our bestselling multi-author works of the year.
Spots 4-6 on the list are a combination of 2015 regulars. Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend was the bestselling of her four Neapolitan novels this time around, perhaps because the September publication of the fourth and final installment, The Story of the Lost Child, brought another wave of publicity that inspired readers to begin the series.
One conspicuous absence from this month’s top six list is hardcover fiction. The Martian, My Brilliant Friend, and A Brief History of Seven Killings are all paperback titles. What will be the next hardcover fiction to make the list? Will Franzen’s Purity regain the top spot it had in September? Will Lauren Groff’s National Book Award finalist Fates and Furies make its way up the list to knock an older paperback out of the spotlight? Will an unexpected new title pick up steam as we head into the holiday season? Let us know what you think in the comments, and be sure to check in next month!